Yesterday on Ujima – The Green Power Show

What I should have been doing yesterday was sleeping. What I actually did was host a 2-hour radio show on climate change and green power issues.

We started out with a pre-recorded interview with Tobias Buckell whose new novel, Hurricane Fever, is just out (and is a lot of fun). I have a longer version of the interview that I’ll be posting on Salon Futura in due course. The reason I had Tobias on the show was that his latest books talk a lot about the effect of climate change on the planet, and in particular on the Caribbean.

Next up were Tasha & Tin from the Avon Coalition Against Big Biofuels. This was mainly a discussion about how all biomass is not equal. Chopping down rain forests in South-East Asia and transporting the wood to the UK to be burned is not, by any stretch of the imagination, green.

You can listen to the first hour here.

At 1:00pm we were joined by Steve Norman who is part of a group protesting about existing activities at Avonmouth. Any wonder what happened to your household refuse? If you happen to live in the South-West of England much of it got baled up and stored at Avonmouth docks waiting to be shipped to Scandinavia for incineration. The local seagulls got rather excited about this, and once the bales had been pecked open the local flies took an interest and started breeding. It got so unpleasant event the Prime Minister was moved to comment. And as there are not enough incinerators in the UK to cope, the stuff is now going into landfill again.

This is, of course, a complicated issue. Ideally we’d throw away less refuse, but recycling facilities in the UK are dreadful and the amount of packaging on things we buy keeps going up. Incineration is better than landfill, but incinerating safely is challenging and companies are tempted to cut corners. Also the ash left after incineration is nasty stuff. So we end up exporting refuse to countries who are prepared to pay for proper incineration, or whose inhabitants don’t protest incinerators as loudly.

My final guest was Harriet from the Centre for Sustainable Energy because I wanted to end by talking about what we can do to help with the energy issue. The CSE does a lot of good work helping people reduce their energy use, and even generate their own. I was particularly interested in Harriet’s comments that people are much less likely to protest green power schemes (such as wind and solar farms) if they are community-owned, and supply power direct to the community, as is generally the case in Germany and Scotland, rather than being owned by multi-national corporations and feeding into the Grid, as is the case in England.

You can listen to the second half of the show here.

The music for the show was chosen by the guests, mostly by Tin. The songs were:

  • Breathing Underwater – Metric
  • 007, A Fantasy Bond Theme – Barray Adamson
  • Green Garden – Laura Mvula
  • Appletree – Erykah Badu
  • Everyday Life Has Become a Health Risk – Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
  • Electioneering – Exit Music feat. Morgan Heritage
  • Sleeping In – Postal Service
  • The First Cut is the Deepest – I-Roy

And here, just for you, Tobias, is Barray Adamson once again.